August 27, 2014
PRINCETON ON THE BIG SCREEN: Oscar winners Dustin Hoffman and Kathy Bates star in “Boychoir,” a film inspired by Princeton’s American Boychoir School. Several American Boychoir students have speaking roles in the film, along with Litton-Lodal Music Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz and Dr. James Litton, Music Director Emeritus.

PRINCETON ON THE BIG SCREEN: Oscar winners Dustin Hoffman and Kathy Bates star in “Boychoir,” a film inspired by Princeton’s American Boychoir School. Several American Boychoir students have speaking roles in the film, along with Litton-Lodal Music Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz and Dr. James Litton, Music Director Emeritus.

The American Boychoir will see their visibility increased with the September 5 premier of director François Girard’s Boychoir, one of only 7 Gala presentations at the Toronto International Film Festival. Boychoir tells the story of an orphaned 12-year-old boy sent to a prestigious music school where he struggles to join an elite group of world-class singers. No one expects this rebellious loner to succeed, least of all the school’s relentlessly tough conductor who wages a battle of wills to bring out the boy’s extraordinary musical gift. The film stars Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Josh Lucas, Kevin McHale, Eddie Izzard, Debra Winger, and Garrett Wareing.

The American Boychoir School students feature prominently, serving as the film’s choir and providing all of the singing heard throughout. Several American Boychoir School students auditioned for speaking roles in the film and one, Dante Soriano, was cast as one of the five major boy characters. Litton-Lodal Music Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz appears as the orchestra conductor and Dr. James Litton, Music Director Emeritus, also provides a cameo.

“Our choir is known throughout the world and has established a loyal global audience. We are excited that a film such as Boychoir not only showcases our talented students, but opens up a larger audience to our music and the powerful work we do to nurture and mentor our students,” says newly installed American Boychoir School President, Dr. Kerry Heimann.

The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the leading public film festivals, screening more than 300 films from nearly 60 countries every September. To learn more, visit www.tiff.net.

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ENDANGERED SPECIES: Sophia Phelan, a student at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, holds her prize-winning drawing of a peregrine falcon. Ms. Phelan is the Mercer County winner of the “Species on the Edge,” contest for fifth graders sponsored by the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. Sophia’s drawing of New Jersey’s largest falcon and the world’s fastest animal, capable of flying over 200 miles per hour, calls attention to the urgency of preserving New Jersey’s wildlife and their habitats. Her work and that of other award-winning fifth graders from across the state will be on display from September 2 through October 14 at the D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, (off Rosedale Road).

ENDANGERED SPECIES: Sophia Phelan, a student at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, holds her prize-winning drawing of a peregrine falcon. Ms. Phelan is the Mercer County winner of the “Species on the Edge,” contest for fifth graders sponsored by the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. Sophia’s drawing of New Jersey’s largest falcon and the world’s fastest animal, capable of flying over 200 miles per hour, calls attention to the urgency of preserving New Jersey’s wildlife and their habitats. Her work and that of other award-winning fifth graders from across the state will be on display from September 2 through October 14 at the D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, (off Rosedale Road).

Each year, the D&R Greenway Land Trust and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey bring the “Species on the Edge,” with prize-winning art by fifth graders, to its Olivia Rainbow Gallery.

Fifth graders from across the state will have their words and images, calling attention to New Jersey’s endangered and threatened wildlife, on display from September 2 through October 14 at the D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, (off Rosedale Road).

The artwork and accompanying essays resulted from fifth graders’ having studied over 80 endangered and threatened species of New Jersey wildlife, under the auspices of Conserve Wildlife Foundation of N.J. Local artists visit schools to coach the children in effective imaging. The resulting works are judged by artists and scientists. D&R Greenway is one of many venues to celebrate this blend of art and science annually. These works, the cream of the crop, were selected from over 2,000 entries.

The Mercer County winner is Sophia Phelan, a student at Princeton’s Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart. Sophia drew the peregrine falcon, New Jersey’s largest falcon and world’s fastest animal, capable of flying over 200 miles per hour. The 2014 winners in the Olivia Rainbow Gallery call attention to the urgency of preserving New Jersey’s wildlife and their habitats.

The Olivia Rainbow Gallery showcases student art throughout the year. It was founded and is funded in memory of young Olivia Kuenne, who cherished both art and nature. Its next exhibition, “Natural Treasures,” will be provided by frequent exhibiting artist Deb Land. One of Deb’s students at Stuart Country Day School is Sophia Phelan, the Mercer County winner. Her work has hung in the Olivia Rainbow Gallery during an earlier Stuart exhibit.

For the statewide Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest, beginning each fall on October 1, children choose representative species of endangered New Jersey wildlife. In effect, during their research and painting/drawing, each becomes a temporary wildlife biologist. More information about the contest can be found at www.conservewild
lifenj.org. For more on D&R Greenway Land Trust, visit: www.drgreenway.org.

The exhibition is free and open to the public on business hours of business days.

Most Princetonians with only a passing knowledge of American history know about the importance of the Battle of Princeton in the Revolutionary War. But how many locals are aware that their hometown can claim to have been the site of the first capital of the United States?

Not many, figures Mimi Omiecinski, who owns Princeton Tour Company and has been leading historically-themed tours of the town for the past seven years. Ms. Omiecinski is out to further educate the public with a free, family-friendly tour on Saturday, September 6 at 1 p.m. “First Capital Princeton,” to be led by Ms. Omiecinski and Rutgers graduate Tom Murphy, starts at Morven and ends 90 minutes later at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, where George Washington toasted the birth of the nation in 1783.

“People are going to learn about the diverse group of characters, famous and not, who were instrumental in this period,” Ms. Omiecinski said. “We want to spark an appreciation and curiosity, among adults and children.”

Even though she is descended from 12 different veterans of the Revolutionary War and has been a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) since her teens, Ms. Omiecinski wasn’t especially interested in that period of history until she moved to Princeton from her native Tennessee in 2006.

“My grandmother Alice Ross was state regent for Tennessee for over 12 years, and I was really close to her,” Ms. Omiecinski said. “And my grandfather was an active member of the Sons of the American Revolution. On his side, I’m related to a signer of the Declaration of Independence, George Ross. But I never really appreciated all of this until I came here and started learning about Princeton’s significance in the Revolutionary War. It made me realize that legacy is really important.”

After attending the Princeton chapter of the DAR, and bringing her grandmother to a meeting (“She was thrilled”), Ms. Omiecinski started learning about local history and leading tours. “I saw right away that Princeton had a lot more history than just the Battlefield,” she said. “It was home to three signers of the Declaration of Independence. And it was home to the first capital of the United States.”

When Ms. Omiecinski learned that in 1783, Congress met at Nassau Hall after fleeing to Princeton from near-mutinous troops in Philadelphia, she was hooked. “Since October 1781 when Cornwallis had surrendered his army at Yorktown, Americans had been waiting impatiently for the signing of a peace treaty with Britain,” she said. “As the months passed and the peace negotiations dragged on, the army became increasingly restless, weary of the long war, and impatient with the unfulfilled promises of Congress for back pay. On June 20, troops surrounded the statehouse in Philadelphia, where Congress was meeting in an attempt to satisfy their grievances.”

There were no violent incidents and the mutiny subsided, but Congress felt insulted by the event and unsupported by the government of Pennsylvania, the story continues. A resolution directing Congress to meet in “Trenton Princeton” was passed. Princeton was soon chosen as the location by the President of Congress, Elias Boudinot.

Ms. Omiecinski’s research revealed that Princeton may have been chosen because Boudinot was a Princeton native from a prominent family, he was a trustee of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), and Nassau Hall was large enough to accommodate the Congress. All of this will be explained and examined in detail during the tour.

“They received the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783, in Nassau Hall,” Ms. Omiecinski said. “That makes it the first capitol [building], while Princeton becomes the first capital.”

Registration is mandatory for the tour, though admission is free. There will be surprises along the way. Since it is designed for families, the tour is being held on Saturday, September 6 rather than September 3, which would be the actual anniversary of the Treaty of Paris.

“We’ll be doing this the first Saturday of every September as long as the town will let us,” Ms. Omiecinski said. The whole idea is to delight and inspire.”

Email firstcapitalprinceton@gmail.com to register or call (855) 743-1415 to learn more.

 

PANORAMIC VIEW: This 1988 photo portrait, titled “Anna and Tom” by Lee Friedlander depicts Tom and Anna Roma and is part of the exhibition, “Pannaroma – MCCC,” which opens at Mercer County Community College Gallery on Tuesday, September 2. The show will run through September 25. For more information, visit: www.mccc.edu/gallery.

PANORAMIC VIEW: This 1988 photo portrait, titled “Anna and Tom” by Lee Friedlander depicts Tom and Anna Roma and is part of the exhibition, “Pannaroma – MCCC,” which opens at Mercer County Community College Gallery on Tuesday, September 2. The show will run through September 25. For more information, visit: www.mccc.edu/gallery.

Mercer County Community College (MCCC) will open with an exhibition of photographic works produced by 18 photographers from September 2 through September 25, who used a specially designed 1×3 panoramic camera built by Thomas Roma, the Director of Photography at Columbia University. The public is invited to an opening reception on Thursday, September 4, from 6 to 8 p.m., that will feature statements by some of the photographers.

Titled “Pannaroma — MCCC,” in honor of Mr. Roma’s wife, Anna, the show was previously exhibited in New York City, Miami, and New Orleans.

According to MCCC Photography Professor Michael Dalton, co-curator of the exhibit with Gallery Director Dylan Wolfe, professor Roma created 31 cameras from the mid-1980s through the 1990s built on a handheld 35mm Nikon F. Mr. Dalton notes that panoramic cameras at that time were significantly heavier and used larger film, requiring the use of a tripod. “Professor Roma’s goal was to make the taking of panoramic photos easier and allow for more versatile subject matter,” said Dalton.

Many of the photos in the exhibit capture interaction between people and their environment, a departure from the sprawling natural scenery typically depicted with panoramic cameras. “The Roma camera allows for more,” said Mr. Dalton. “The result is a wide-ranging group of photographs that draws the viewer into the content of the photo.”

“Pannaroma” features work from professional photographers, including a number of Mr. Roma’s former students. In addition to Mr. Roma and MCCC’s Dalton, the exhibition includes photos by Inbal Abergil, Tony Chirinos, Sasha Waters Freyer, Lee Friedlander, Stephen Hilger, Yoav Horesh, Zsolt Kadar, Richard LaBarbera, Jeff Ladd, Kai McBride, Laura Mircik-Sellers, Claudio Nolasco, Anibal Pella-Woo, Dennis Santella, Raghubir Singh, and Daniel Willner.

The MCCC Galley is located on the second floor of the Communications Building on the college’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. Gallery hours are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information, including directions to campus, visit: www.mccc.edu/gallery.

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Princeton Council Monday night approved the hiring of two police officers, marking the first addition to the Princeton Police Department since the former Borough and Township consolidated in January 2013. In a unanimous vote, the governing body made the appointments of Dashawn J. Cribb, 25, and Donald Stephen Mathews, 36, official.

“They represent a very bright future for our department,” Chief Nicholas Sutter said at a press conference earlier in the day. ‘“Some of us older people in the department look at it as a legacy.”

The vote was among several items on the agenda. The town’s engineering director Bob Kiser told Council that AvalonBay, the developer of a 280-unit rental complex at the former site of Princeton Hospital, is planning to begin demolition of the smaller buildings near the parking garage on Thursday, September 4, the day after the developer holds a public meeting with neighborhood residents. Council and AvalonBay agreed to a revised developer’s agreement last week. Demolition is expected to take about four months.

The governing body approved numerous resolutions and held public hearings on several ordinances. Reports were given on affordable housing, education, and efforts by a citizens’ group to make the installation of a pipeline on the Princeton Ridge environmentally sensitive and safe.

Mr. Sutter said that the recruitment process for officers began last year. Candidates took written tests and physical fitness exams. After interviews and background checks, the process was narrowed down to 144 before another round of interviews. The town’s Public Safety Committee took part in the final decision.

Mr. Cribb is a graduate of Trenton High School and Montclair State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and justice studies. He coaches Pop Warner Football, is a youth mentor, and a volunteer at the Girls and Boys Club of Trenton. Mr. Mathews graduated from Bordentown High School and Richard Stockton College, and was a member of the Mansfield Township Police Department from 2002 until being hired by Princeton. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in Mansfield after completing three-and-a-half years of service.

“They are from two professionally and personally diverse backgrounds, which is really what our department is about,” said Mr. Sutter. “It’s good for the future that there is a mix of people in the department.”

Councilwoman Heather Howard praised the two new hires for “the diversity and breadth they’ll bring to the force,” adding that they were hired now because of some upcoming retirements and the need to preserve the size of the police force. The officers will be sworn in at the next Council meeting on September 8.

Ed Truscelli, executive director of Princeton Community Housing, delivered a status report to Council about the organization, which counts 466 rental units and four other locations among affordable housing residences. Mr. Truscelli urged Council to consider properties — a parking lot on Franklin Avenue across from the former Princeton Hospital site, and another on North Harrison Street, which will be vacated by Princeton Fire & Rescue Squad (PFARS), as sites for more affordable housing.

“These are opportunities we should seriously look at,” he said. “There is a distinct and significant need for affordable housing in this community, and this would seem to be the perfect opportunity. We’re ready to partner, ready to assist.”

Princeton Public Schools Superintendent Steve Cochrane delivered his first report to Council since taking over from Judy Wilson last January. He stressed the importance of providing access to computers and electronics for all students, about six percent of whom do not have email or computers. “Those students fall further and further behind,” he said. “We’re in the process of brainstorming ways to increase that electronic access.” Councilman Lance Liverman suggested contacting the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has assisted similar efforts elsewhere.

Mr. Cochrane made reference to a demographic study that projects public school enrollment rising only modestly over the next five years. Grade-by-grade enrollment predictions show growth in pre-kindergarten to grade five relatively flat, while middle school enrollment could peak in year three but decrease in year five. “The real sticking point is high school,” he said. Enrollment was at 1,471 students in the last school year, an increase of about 252 from a decade ago.

The study estimates that enrollment will peak at 1,611 during 2017-18 before falling again to 1,543 the following year. “We will continue to monitor these numbers and make sure there is enough room for our students,” Mr. Cochrane said.

Barbara Blumenthal of the Princeton Ridge Coalition told Council that the group is focusing its efforts on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection rather than the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure safety and sensitivity to the environment during the Williams Transco company’s gas pipeline expansion. FERC’s recent environmental assessment showed that the proposed project would have no significant impact on the Princeton Ridge, a finding that members of the Coalition strongly disagree with. The final date for commenting to FERC is September 10, and Mayor Liz Lempert said Council would put consideration of a response to FERC on the agenda for the September 8 meeting.

 

A pre-trial hearing for Princeton University Professor John Mulvey, 67, who was arrested last month and charged with the theft of business signs advertising Princeton Computer Tutor services, has been scheduled to take place in Princeton Municipal Court on Monday, September 8.

The alleged thefts are said to have occurred at various times since June 2013 in the area of Rosedale Road near Elm Road.

Computer Tutor owner Ted Horodynsky had put up a camera in an attempt to find out who was responsible for removing his 2 by 2 foot signs, worth more than $20 each, from private property locations. After sharing his surveillance video of the lawn signs being removed with the Princeton Police Department, an investigation by Detective Sergeant Christopher Quaste and Detective Adam Basatemur discovered 21 lawn signs in Mr. Mulvey’s garage. Mr. Mulvey was arrested at Princeton Police Department headquarters. The signs were returned to Mr. Horodynsky.

The arrest and details of the incident as told from the point of view of the Computer Tutor business owner made the news on Channel 7, July 17. Mr. Horodynsky was filmed walking along Nassau Street with a news reporter. He expressed his hope that Mr. Mulvey gets help and doesn’t lose his job at Princeton University. According to Mr. Horodynsky, the video shows the business signs being removed on five separate occasions by Mr. Mulvey, allegedly stealing them and taking them away in his vehicle, whose license plate was recorded on camera.

Mr Horodynsky captured the news broadcast on video and has posted it to YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=en7tctSbqT0).

Mr. Mulvey has been teaching at Princeton University since 1978 and is a professor of operations research and financial engineering and a founding member of the Bendheim Center for Finance, which conducts research into links between financial economics and fields, such as engineering, operations research, mathematics, computer science, psychology, and public policy. According to the University website, Mr. Mulvey “has built significant planning systems for government agencies, including the Office of Tax Analysis for the Treasury Department, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Defense Department.”

Mr. Mulvey has claimed that he was picking up debris. He has hired experienced Princeton attorney, Kim A. Otis, who has served as Municipal Prosecutor in both Princeton Borough and Princeton Township. He is one of a small number of attorneys in Mercer County certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney.

Mr. Mulvey and Mr. Otis will appear at the pre-trial hearing scheduled for 1:15 p.m. with John F. McCarthy III as the expected presiding judge.

 

The owner of Nomad Pizza, the Hopewell-based eatery specializing in pizza made in wood-fired ovens, has signed a lease to take over the former Amoco gas station at Princeton Shopping Center. Tom Grim, one of two owners of the company, said this week that he expects to have the pizzeria up and running in about a year.

“We are very excited,” he said. “We haven’t completely fleshed it out, but we won’t change much from what we have in Hopewell. We will have more seating, though, with an outdoor patio. And we may have two ovens instead of one.”

A representative of Eden’s, the company that owns Princeton Shopping Center, confirmed that Nomad had signed the lease, but declined to comment further.

Mr. Grim knows Princeton well. He was the co-founder of Thomas Sweet ice cream in 1980, running the business until he sold it in 2008. With business partner Stalin Bedon, Mr. Grim changed his focus to pizza, starting Nomad out of a 1949 REO Speedwagon truck complete with a wood-burning oven imported from Italy. The truck is still used for private parties and other events. The Hopewell restaurant opened in 2010. Two locations in Philadelphia, called Nomad and Nomad Roman, are also in operation.

Preparing the Princeton Shopping Center location will take a year because floors at the old Amoco station need to be ripped up and the roof will be replaced. “A lot of work has to be done before they hand it over,” Mr. Grim said. “Then there’s the whole approval process to get through. But that’s fine with me. We anticipate getting in there around June or July, and then a few months more until we open.”

Mr. Grim anticipates hiring about 40 people to work in different shifts. Nomad specializes in wood-fired Neapolitan pizza, not sold by the slice. “This is the kind of pizza you see in Italy,” he said. “Pizza we make isn’t designed to be eaten by the slice. We use farm-to-table ingredients, and great dough that takes a long time to make. It’s a four-day process. That gives the flavors time to develop. Some things are better fresh, and dough isn’t one of them.”

Emphasizing that Nomad is “not a restaurant, it’s a pizzeria,” Mr. Grim said a few more items will be available but pizza will be the entree. The restaurant will make it’s own mozzarella.

The partners started Nomad in Hopewell after people who had sampled the pizza from the truck started asking where they could get it on a regular basis. “We took over this little place in Hopewell. It was just a shack,” Mr. Grim said. “The original idea was to be open three days a week, but we’ve been so busy that we’re now open six days. But never for lunch.”

In Princeton, however, Mr. Grim anticipates being open just for dinner at first, gradually adding lunch on weekends and eventually during the week. The former gas station’s existing garage door will be replaced, but the pizzeria will still have “a garage look,” Mr. Grim said.

Having celebrated his fourth year at the Hopewell location, which gets busier each year, Mr. Grim is looking forward to similar success in Princeton. “I think we’ll do well in Princeton. The shopping center is an institution. And there’s parking, which is becoming precious in town.”

 

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Sponsored by the Coalition for Peace Action and Not In Our Town, Saturday’s March and Rally for Justice for Michael Brown was attended by as many as 125 people. Among the speakers were CFPA Executive Director, The Rev. Robert Moore; the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church Carlton Branscomb; and, at the lectern, Rutgers Professor Emeritus Daniel Harris. Some of the participants express their thoughts in this week’s Town Talk. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

August 26, 2014

HiTops is looking for volunteer traffic cyclists as well as volunteers for other positions in anticipation of the Princeton Half Marathon that is scheduled to take place on November 2 from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. For more information, or to register, go to http://princetonhalfmarathon.com/volunteer/.

August 25, 2014

The Arts Council of Princeton’s new website design is interactive, filled with colorful photographs, and reflects a commitment to the organization’s mission of “building community through the arts.” New features include an improved format for events and calendar, more information on how the Arts Council serves the greater Princeton region, and the  “ACP Insider” Blog, which will be updated regularly. Administrative Manager, Julie Sullivan-Crowley, spearheaded the re-design and launch, working closely with Command C, a Brooklyn-based custom web design firm, and with help from the entire ACP staff. Check it out at: www.artscouncilofprinceton.org. Anyone experiencing an issue with the site is asked to contact Alyssa Gillon at (609) 924-8777 x110 or email agillon@artscouncilofprinceton.org.

 
August 22, 2014

AvalonBay, the developer of a planned 280-unit rental complex on the former Princeton Hospital site, is holding a neighborhood meeting on Wednesday, September 3 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 400 Witherspoon Street.

Princeton Council voted August 18 to approve the developer’s agreement, which allows AvalonBay to begin planning demolition of the former hospital buildings. The controversial agreement was the subject of recent legal proceedings over how much environmental testing would be done before the during the demolition. Many neighborhood residents have expressed concerns about potential dangers associated with the process.

All neighborhood residents and members of the public are invited to attend the meeting, which was announced on Friday afternoon.

August 21, 2014

The Princeton University professor charged with stealing 21 signs from in the area of Rosedale and Elm roads is scheduled to appear in pre-trial hearing on September 8. John Mulvey, 67, will appear in Princeton municipal court with his lawyer, Kim Otis.

Mr. Mulvey was videotaped removing the two-by-two-foot signs advertising Princeton Computer Tutor, which is owned by Ted Horodynsky. Mr. Horodynsky has claimed that the signs, which are valued at a total of $471, began to disappear after Mr. Mulvey cut him off in traffic.

Mr. Mulvey teaches operations research and financial engineering. He was charged with theft after the signs started disappearing in June 2013. He has said that he intends to fight the charges, and claims he was picking up debris. The signs were found by police in his garage.

August 20, 2014

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FINAL MOMENTS FOR THE “FLOOD HOUSE”: This rental property at 59 Meadowbrook Drive was demolished Wednesday morning, to the relief of many neighbors who have watched over the years as the low-lying property was repeatedly inundated with stormwater. It wasn’t uncommon to see occupants’ belongings being dried out on the lawn after a heavy rain. Princeton Council approved an ordinance recently to tear down the house, which was built in 1960. The site is to be turned into a pocket park, which must be completed by September 12 under the terms of the FEMA grant that paid for the demolition.

Members of the Princeton community will host a parade and rally to support justice for Mike Brown on Saturday, August 23 from 2-4 p.m., starting at Tiger Park on Nassau Street. “Please join us in solidarity and determination to fight for equality and justice for all — the words we say when we recite the Pledge of Allegiance,” a notice announcing the rally reads.

Those joining the gathering will march peaceably along Nassau Street to Witherspoon Street and to Hinds Plaza next to the Princeton Public Library, where participants can deliver speeches, songs, poems, and demonstrations of solidarity, with remarks kept to approximately three minutes. Signs should be cardboard or the like, not on poles or sticks. Language should preferably be for justice, healing, and (radical) reform, not against the police.

Volunteers are needed to serve as marshals and help keep the walk in line. Contact Daniel Harris at  www.danielharrispoet.net or (609) 683-0198 to volunteer, or to let organizers know you will be attending.

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Titled “Landisville Road Meadow,” this painting by Cindy Roesinger will be on view as part of an exhibition of and sale of work by two dozen members of the New Hope Art League at the Upstairs Gallery in Peddlers Village, Courtyard Shop #10 (behind Earl’s Restaurant), Lahaska, Pa., from September 5 through October 3. The following artists will be on display: Jeanne Chesterton, Lois Clarkson, Kit Dalton, Joyce Danko, Diane DeAngelis, Susan Eckstein, Shane Forbes, Oz Freegood, Jeanette Gonzales, Diane Greenberg, Susan Halstrick, Donna D. Lovely, Loretta Luglio, Katalin Lukzay, John Mertz, Betty Minnucci, Margie Perry, Cindy Roesinger, Ilene Rubin, Cindy Ruenes, Natalie Searl, Kate Viola, and Chaz Walter. An opening reception with the artists will take place Friday, September 5 from 6 to 9 p.m. Gallery hours are Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call (215) 794-8486, or visit www.NewHopeArtLeague.com.

 

August is Canning and Preserving Month at the Pennington Farmer’s Market. The market is located at Rosedale Mills, 101 Route 31 in Pennington and is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Visitors can learn how to preserve the summer’s bounty and try some local salsa, jams, and sauces. Available for purchase are fresh plums, peaches, apple butter, sweet corn, sunflowers, bread pudding, homemade granola, tea, vegetables, breads, sauces, wine, meats, dairy products, desserts, crafts, creams and lotions, and others — all produced within 50 miles of Pennington.

The August 23 vendors include: Beechtree Farm, Chickadee Creek, Fulper Farms, Hopewell Valley Vineyards, Hoppin’ Good Salsa, Judith’s Desserts, Kerr’s Korn, Lincoln Creek Smokehouse, Sacred Roses, Seeds to Sew, Stace of Cakes, Terra Momo Bread and Camella Sauces, and live music by Jeff Griesemer. The local Sierra Club chapter will be visiting with information about the People’s Climate March, happening in New York City on September 21.

For more information, visit penningtonfarmersmarket.org.

HELPING HANDS: Princeton Day School student Emily Yuhas and two young Haitian friends spent time together during the recent summer service trip by KONEKTE to Haiti, where participants helped with construction of a new remote village school, leading art classes, installing a “solar suitcase” at an orphanage and middle school, and other tasks.

HELPING HANDS: Princeton Day School student Emily Yuhas and two young Haitian friends spent time together during the recent summer service trip by KONEKTE to Haiti, where participants helped with construction of a new remote village school, leading art classes, installing a “solar suitcase” at an orphanage and middle school, and other tasks.

When Princeton teenagers travel to Haiti as part of the locally based summer service program known as KONEKTE, they often arrive with certain expectations. But those assumptions are usually dispelled as soon as the teenagers begin to interact with the Haitian people they have come to help.

“One of the things they are surprised to see is that in spite of the poverty, the people are positive and joyful,” said Judy Sarvary, a board member of KONEKTE, which took 15 teenagers and five adults to Haiti this summer to work on a variety of projects, from building a school to teaching art classes. “They are very welcoming to us. There is no resentment. They are so happy to share and are very proud of their country.”

Students from Stuart Country Day School, Princeton Day School, and Princeton High School were among those who were part of the group. KONEKTE was founded over three years ago by Madelaine Shellaby, a former art teacher at Stuart, and Anne Hoppenot, who teaches French at the school. Ms. Sarvary has been involved since 2012.

“What our kids come away with is that there is great productivity in Haiti’s younger generation,” she continued. “They’re expecting to see a lot of poverty and hardship. But they come away with how much joy there is.”

While the students are taken to Haiti in the summer, Ms. Sarvary and Ms. Hoppenot travel to the country a few times a year. “It’s really a collaboration,” says Ms. Hoppenot. “We stay in touch and keep a real relationship going all year long. It’s not just about going for 10 days. It’s about a long relationship, and that’s what we’re trying to build.”

The group’s focus is determined before they arrive on Haitian soil. “We do quite a lot of organization before we go,” said Ms. Sarvary. “They tell us what they’d like us to do, what is needed in the village. Then we say what we’d like to do, what skills we have. It’s a bit of back and forth. It ends up being a little bit of everything.”

Construction projects are always part of the mix. Last year, the group helped build a health and hygiene clinic. This summer, they worked on the foundations for a new remote village school as well as the second floor of the Men Nan Men vocational school, which is a project of the Foundation for Peace, the New Jersey-based organization that hosts the group in Haiti.

There was also a call for mosquito nets and repellents. Aided by Hillsborough Presbyterian Church, young team participants Eric Kinney and Celena Stoia raised funds for more than 100 nets and repellents to distribute in the village of Kwa Kok, where residents are exposed to the fast-spreading and painful Chikungunya virus. Princeton area dentists donated hundreds of tubes of toothpaste and tooth brushes, which were also distributed.

Volunteers helped out with mixing cement by hand, teaching business, and leading soap-making classes. They also brought solar power to an orphanage dormitory. Assembled by students at Stuart as part of a two-week program, a “solar suitcase” — a transportable system that provides lighting and charging for places without regular electricity — was given to an orphanage. A second solar suitcase was installed in a local middle school so that students can study after dark.

A celebratory graduation at the school KONEKTE sponsors and a soccer tournament were among the activities during the visit.

The participants stayed in a hotel near Port au Prince, traveling to and from there by bus each day to an area on Haiti’s east coast, near the border of the Dominican Republic. “We go back to the same place each year,” said Ms. Sarvary. “It makes it personal. It’s not just statistics or pictures you’ve seen on Facebook. These are real people and they’re our friends. There is a real sense of community.”

The idea is to educate people at home as well as helping Haitians in need. “This is year round,” Ms. Hoppentot said. “We’re trying to raise money, raise awareness, get more of the schools involved, and even talk to businesses about getting involved. We want it to be community-wide, and we’re trying to expand on that idea.”

For information about Princeton Haiti KONEKTE, visit www.konekteprincetonhaiti.weebly.com.

 

HiTOPS Adolescent Health and Education Center of Princeton is pleased to announce the addition of George Benaur and Grayson Barber to their Board of Trustees.

Mr. Benaur, an experienced U.S. business lawyer specializing in contracts and dispute resolution, has been selected as New Jersey Super Lawyers® Rising Star for the past three years and in 2014 was selected to the New Jersey “Leaders of the Bar” list, formerly known as “40 under 40”. In addition to a broad range of business litigations in federal and state courts across the country, George works on corporate deals, contracts, risk analysis, due diligence, and other compliance projects. In 2013, George served as the chair of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Group, and remains on the steering committee this year. He recently completed Volunteer Connect’s pilot program Board Connect, and joins his first non-profit board this year.

Ms. Barber is a longtime admirer of HiTOPS and its services in our community. Her interest in reproductive health care dates from working at a Planned Parenthood clinic in the 1970s. As an attorney she worked in private practice, followed by several years as a volunteer for civil liberties organizations like the ACLU and EFF. In 2013 she received the Intellectual Freedom Award bestowed by the New Jersey Library Association. She served on the New Jersey Privacy Study Commission, the state Supreme Court Special Committee on Public Access to Court Records, and the Individual Rights Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association. As a preceptor at Princeton University, Grayson contributed to courses on discrimination and the law. She served on a number of nonprofit boards, including the national board of the ACLU and the Princeton Public Library. She retired from the practice of law in March 2014. As a privacy advocate, she continues to serve on the board of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and is pleased to join the board of HiTOPS.

HiTOPS is a non-profit organization located in Mercer County, New Jersey. HiTOPS’ ultimate goal is healthy, empowered youth who make healthy enhancing choices and avoid long-term negative health outcomes. For more information, visit www.hitops.org.

In a unanimous vote Monday night, Princeton Council approved a revised agreement with developer AvalonBay that will allow demolition of the former Princeton Hospital building to begin, possibly as early as mid-September. The demolition will make room for AvalonBay’s 280-unit rental property, which has been in the works since August 2011.

Mayor Liz Lempert and Council member Heather Howard were not present at the meeting, at which several members of the public urged the governing body to delay voting on the agreement so they could review the revisions. But Council President Bernie Miller said Ms. Lempert and Ms. Howard had participated by telephone in a closed session that preceded the meeting, and expressed their support for approval.

The developer’s agreement was amended following court-ordered mediation between representatives of Council and AvalonBay. The developer had sued the town over the agreement that Council approved in April, a month after approving an earlier agreement. The second document called for additional testing following the recommendations of an environmental consultant when the presence of two former incinerators at the hospital site was revealed.

Last month, Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ordered the town and the developer to meet with a mediator to resolve their dispute over whether Council was legally able to require the extra testing. A town can require additional testing of a developer beyond regulations set by the state, but only if there is an ordinance in place. Princeton does not have such an ordinance.

While the new, mediated agreement calls for less environmental testing than the Council had required, municipal attorney Trishka Cecil advised the governing body to approve the measure rather than risking further litigation by AvalonBay, which she said could likely result in no environmental testing at all.

Under the new agreement, AvalonBay will drop the lawsuit and follow the environmental protocols recommended in the report completed last March, before the Council voted to amend that document. The developer will test the medical incinerator floor drains and related piping, and any ash found during demolition. They will test for metals but not PCBs. Instead of sampling exterior soil and soil below the former incinerator room, the company will stockpile that soil for use in such locations as underneath asphalt. Should any discharge be detected, the soil will be taken from the site.

The company will also bring clean fill topsoil for grass, landscaping, and pervious surfaces, according to the agreement. The topsoil will be four inches deep and cover approximately 65,000 square feet of the development. Twelve inches of topsoil will be used in a community garden. AvalonBay has also agreed to provide five air monitors during the crushing of concrete, but will not do any sampling of concrete that is being re-used at the site.

Among those residents asking questions and urging Council to hold off on voting was Paul Driscoll, who said that many neighbors affected by the decision are out of town in August. “Have you done everything you can to ensure the safety or our citizens?,” he asked, continuing, “This is the biggest demolition in Princeton history. People need to be involved.” Lytle Street resident Linda Auerbach questioned whether AvalonBay knew about the presence of the incinerator or the hospital failed to inform the developer before the sale.

Resident Sam Hamod told Council that he appreciated their work. “But remember this, you represent the residents of Princeton, not AvalonBay. I know you want to be fair to them, but you also have to be fair to us and to yourselves.” Another resident expressed concerns about potential contaminants that could be released when the hospital building’s chimneys are demolished.

Council attempted to answer questions posed by the public before stating, one by one, why they were choosing to approve the revised agreement.

“We’ve gotten a pretty good deal,” said Jenny Crumiller, explaining that AvalonBay was willing to compromise now but might not be later if the decision was delayed. Patrick Simon concurred, saying, “My assessment is that it accomplishes substantively everything we asked AvalonBay to do.” Council member Jo Butler commented, “If you’re really interested in public safety, you have to see that we had to make a deal.” Mr. Miller said, “In case there is any doubt, foremost was the protection of the health and welfare of the residents and the future residents of Princeton.”

Following the vote, AvalonBay vice president Ron Ladell said he was pleased at the decision. “We’re eager to move forward,” he said.

Municipal staff members met with AvalonBay representatives Tuesday afternoon to discuss the schedule for demolition. According to the town’s engineer Bob Kiser, the developer will begin to remove asbestos from the roof area later this week, and the process will take up to four weeks. Following that sometime between the middle and end of next month, demolition will begin.

 

Princeton’s Health Officer Jeffrey C. Grosser is warning residents, especially those in the Linden Lane area, to keep a safe distance if they discover bats inside their homes and to call the Princeton Police Department or the Animal Control Officer.

The warning comes after two bats taken from two homes on Linden Lane were tested at the New Jersey Public Health Laboratory. Residents contacted Animal Control Officer Mark Johnson who picked up the bats and took them to the laboratory for testing.

The Princeton Health Department received notification that the bats had tested positive for the rabies virus. The Health Department customarily receives notification from the state laboratory of all findings of rabies specimens.

According to a statement from the Department, the Linden Lane area has had a recent history over the past two years of rabies in its wild and stray animals. Last year a bat tested positive in the vicinity.

Mr. Grosser said that it was important for all Princeton residents to ensure that “their homes do not have openings” that might invite wild animals to take up residence inside. “Bats and raccoons are the two species of mammals that most often are infected with rabies,” he said, noting that while rabies in humans is rare in the United States, which usually sees just one or two human cases per year, the most common source of human rabies in the country is bats. “Among the 19 cases of rabies in humans from 1997 to 2006, 17 (90 percent) were associated with bats.”

If local residents discover a bat in their home, they should try to confine it to a single room or area of the home and contact the local police who will report the situation to the Animal Control Officer for response.

“It is imperative that they do not open a window and release the bat,” said Mr. Grosser. “In all instances of potential human exposure involving bats, the bat in question should be safely collected, if possible, and submitted for rabies diagnosis.”

The rabies virus attacks the nervous system and is fatal in humans without prompt treatment. The disease is spread when a rabid animal’s saliva contacts another animal or human through wounds in the skin, typically a bite.

After suspected exposure, prophylactic treatment should be given as soon as possible and consists of a dose of immune globulin and a series of five rabies vaccinations over a 28-day period. Current vaccinations are relatively painless and given as close to the injured area as possible.

If anyone is bitten, scratched, or otherwise comes into close contact with a bat, rabies post-exposure prophylaxis is recommended unless the bat is available for testing and found negative for the virus.

Princeton’s Bats

Bats are not uncommon in Princeton where some residents enjoy seeing them at dusk, often flying high with swallows. Last week, Richard and Karen Woodbridge, whose Prospect Avenue home backs up against Lake Carnegie, were disturbed to find one flying laps around their bedroom. “I grew up in Princeton at a time when it was quite usual to see snakes and box turtles around, and bats don’t bother me,” said Mr. Woodbridge. “In fact, we felt quite sorry for him but we’d rather he wasn’t in our bedroom.”

The Woodbridges took exactly the steps that Mr. Grosser advised above. They left the room, closed the door so that the bat couldn’t escape, and called the Princeton Police Department. Their letter to Police Chief Nick Sutter about the incident reports the actions of Patrol Officer Darwin “Bill” Kieffer and can be founding this week’s Mailbox.

Since the Woodbridges sent their letter, they have learned that, unlike the bats found on Linden Lane, “their bat” tested negative for rabies. “It looked like a healthy animal and was quite big with at least a six inch wing span. It took some effort to catch but we managed it and I was very impressed with the quick response of the Princeton Police Department,” said Mr. Woodbridge.

Bat-Proofing Tips

The Health Department, which cautions residents to keep a safe distance from all wild and stray animals, suggests the following bat-proofing tips.

At dusk, observe to see from where the bats are exiting your home — this is their principal entry point.

Once you know where they are entering your home, seal off all of the other openings and crevices greater than 3/8 inches.

To seal these areas, use 1/4 inch hardware cloth, fly screen, sheet metal, wood, caulking, expandable polyurethane foam, or fiberglass insulation.

To seal the principal entry point, wait until the evening when you are sure all of the bats have left. Don’t try to seal the principal entry point in June or July because bat babies are likely to be left inside.

Hang one-half inch bird netting about the opening with staples or duct tape, letting it extend, unattached at the bottom, to one foot below the opening. This will allow the bats to leave but not enter again. After several days the opening can be sealed.

Seal the openings between November 15 and March 15. Because most bats will have left for hibernation elsewhere, this is the ideal time to bat-proof a home

For anyone who is unable to carry out this work themselves, private companies such as some wildlife removal specialists, pest control and other contractors provide permanent bat exclusion services.

Residents are reminded to contact the Princeton Animal Control Officer/Princeton Police Department at (609) 921-2100 if they encounter a bat in their home, suspicious wildlife, or encounters between wild and domestic animals.

For more information on bats and rabies, please visit, www.cdc.gov/rabies/bats/index.html or www.princetonnj.gov/health/index.html.

 

When Princeton Public Schools open this fall, teachers will be working under their “old” contract, which expired at the end of June. Negotiations that would put a new contract in place have stalled over the issue of health care and salary increases.

The Board of Education last met with representatives of the teachers’ union, the Princeton Regional Education Association (PREA) on July 24. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 11, after the beginning of the school year.

Under New Jersey state law, when a new employment agreement is not reached before a contract expires, the prior contract continues in place for both parties until a new agreement replaces it.

“So the public should rest assured that all staff will start the new school year working under the same collectively-bargained contract that has been in effect for the past three years,” said BOE negotiator Patrick Sullivan in a statement released to the media. “No one will be working without pay or without contractual protections.”

PREA negotiators have repeatedly expressed their frustration with the Board of Education’s stance on health care, which Mr. Sullivan described as being constrained by the school budget and the two percent budget cap required by New Jersey law.

“At our last meeting on July 24, the Board made a detailed proposal to the PREA team that would provide all employees with a fair, predictable salary increase in each of the three years of the new contract, within the Board’s financial constraints,” said Mr. Sullivan, who announced that details of their proposal would be shared with the public at a District board meeting on Tuesday, August 26.

 

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The former Princeton Hospital building has finally been scheduled for demolition. Thanks to the approval Monday night of a controversial developer’s agreement, AvalonBay will begin to take down the buildings at Witherspoon Street and Franklin Avenue in preparation for a rental housing complex that has been the subject of much debate over the past three years. (Photo by Linda Arntzenius)

August 19, 2014
The Princeton University fall sports teams are starting preseason practice later this week. The Town Topics will be running profiles of Tiger football star Anthony Gaffney along with PU field hockey players Maddie Copeland and Sarah Brennan in the August 20 edition to kick off its fall coverage with team preview stories to follow in upcoming issues. The regular season starts September 5 with women’s soccer hosting Rutgers, field hockey playing at Duke, men’s soccer playing at Fairleigh Dickinson, and women’s volleyball taking part in the Temple Invitational in Philadelphia.

August 18, 2014

Princeton University students and staff are being advised to contact university medical personnel if they recently have been in parts of West Africa and have developed a fever, one of the symptoms of the deadly Ebola virus. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone should be avoided. The University said it would not provide financial aid or other support to undergraduate and graduate students traveling to these countries as per its policy regarding countries that are on a government travel advisory or places the school feels are unsafe. Along with Nigeria, the three countries listed are currently dealing with an outbreak of Ebola that has claimed over 1,000 lives so far. The disease is transmitted through contact with an infected person’s blood or other bodily fluid; and spread through contact with infected animals and meat from an infected animal. Symptoms include fever, headache and joint and muscle pain, according to the federal government. The New Jersey Department of Health’s “interim guidance” for colleges and universities that have students coming back from the impacted areas in West Africa states that there is no need to quarantine students who had visited those countries and show no symptoms. Students should monitor themselves for 21 days from the time they were in one of those nations. Ebola-like symptoms should be treated in an emergency department, not a campus health center, according to the state.

August 15, 2014
Phillip Griffiths, Professor Emeritus in the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study, has been awarded the Chern Medal by the International Mathematical Union (IMU) at the International Congress of Mathematicians, in Seoul, South Korea. For full story, see this Wednesday’s Town Topics.
The Chern Medal, established in 2010 in honor of mathematician Shiing-Shen Chern (1911–2004), is awarded every four years in recognition of outstanding and sustained achievements in the field. Griffiths, whose work has stimulated a wide range of advances in mathematics over the past 50 years, was cited by the IMU, the global mathematics professional organization, for his “groundbreaking and transformative development of transcendental methods in complex geometry, particularly his seminal work in Hodge theory and periods of algebraic varieties.” Of the $500,000 monetary award, half will be donated to support the African Mathematics Millennium Science Initiative (AMMSI), which is a distributed network of mathematics research, training and promotion throughout Africa.